Falling Out of Love with Facebook?

If so, you’re not alone! In fact, you’re in good company; an informal Sophos poll found that around 60 percent of Facebook users are tossing around the idea of quitting Facebook entirely. Additionally, Google reports that more people than ever are searching for information on how to delete their Facebook account. There is even a group of about 11,000+ people that have committed to calling it quits with Facebook on May 31st — a clear sign to Facebook that users are not happy with recent changes to their Facebook accounts.

So… what exactly is going on? What’s got people so fired up about Facebook? The interactive visual provided here, titled The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook, should be a good launching point for those that aren’t familiar with the concerns surrounding this issue.

Mainly, the concern is that personal information is becoming increasingly available and accessible to others without the user’s consent. Each time Facebook changes its security and privacy restrictions the user has to be aware that this is happening, and “opt-out” to protect themselves from their information being leaked. This essentially requires users to frequently visit and update their security preferences (which can be a complicated task!).  Even more importantly, it requires users to be aware of Facebook news and updates.

Many believe that Facebook is releasing more and more if its user’s data for monetary gain. A Washington Post article, from May 20th, cited a recent concern that Facebook supplied User IDs of people who had clicked on an advertisement to the advertisers themselves. Facebook, on the other hand, claims that its most recent changes are due to the desire to connect their users with more information, and specifically, to tailor information to the user’s preferences. Additionally, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy, Tim Sparapini, recently indicated that Facebook plans to unroll much simpler privacy settings.

Thinking about deleting your Facebook account? Use this article, titled Deleting Your Facebook Account (FAQ), from CNet to explore the situation in more detail and make some informed decisions. Perhaps most importantly, if you use your Facebook account to connect with colleagues or library patrons, ask yourself what’s next? What are some tools you can use to maintain your Facebook connections?

Of course, the less extreme option is to carefully control and maintain your privacy settings. This guide should help!